CNET attacked by Russian hackers, user database stolen

Russian hacker group W0rm has apparently managed to breach servers belonging to media website CNET, and make off with databases containing usernames, emails, and encrypted passwords of more than a million registered users.

The breach was confirmed by CBS Interactive (CNET’s owner) spokeswoman, who said that a few servers were accessed, but that they hole through which the attackers managed to slip in was already fixed.

One of the group contacted CNET News via Twitter and said that the hole in question was found in the site’s implementation of the Symfony PHP framework.

The interesting thing is that the attackers are apparently not interested in making money from the breach. The offered to sell the database for a symbolic price of 1 Bitcoin (around $622), but the aren’t planning to go through with the sale.

Their actual goal was to bring attention to the website’s insecurity, and to prod the company to fix the problem in order to improve the overall security of the Web, they claimed.

A spokesman of the group said that they have successfully targeted other high-profile sites such as those belonging to the BBC, Adobe Systems and Bank of America, for the same reason.

“[W]e are driven to make the Internet a better and safer [place] rather than a desire to protect copyright,” the group said. “I want to note that the experts responsible for bezopastnost [security] in cnet very good work but not without flaws.”

The group’s representative later offered a “good protection system” for CNET.

The company doesn’t say it, but if you are a registered user, you might want to change your password just in case the group’s assurances turn out to be hollow.